If you’ve never participated in a true landscape design consultation then you might be feeling a bit uncertain – what is this consultation for, will you be expected to give your designer any information, what if you don’t know the answers, and why is there a fee attached to it, anyway? That last one can sometimes be the first sticking point! After all, you can get a free estimate from everyone from a home contractor to a plumber, so why pay for something as simple as a landscape design consultation?
Well, we hope that by the end of this you’ll have a better understanding of what makes a landscape design consultation so special, and the myriad things you can expect to get out of it. (Hint: it’s more than just an “estimate” at the bottom of an ugly pink or yellow form!)
Today we’d like to share our process with you so that you’ll know exactly what to expect. And we don’t want you to simply take it from us – we’ve included words from past and current clients to give you an idea of just what the experience can be like.
We’ve also addressed other questions before, like here where we talk about WHY you need a consultation in the first place.
But for now, the headline event – a step-by-step walkthrough of the consultation process and what it’s like during each phase. We promise not to bore you with technicalities and jargon. This is all about creating something beautiful that you can live in, love and enjoy for years to come. And that should be 100% fun!
When we engage you in a consultation, the first thing we’ll do is schedule a time for you to visit our showroom. You might wonder why we start there instead of in your own yard – that’s what we’ll be talking about, after all, isn’t it? The truth is, you may not have a fully formed idea of what you want, and even if you’re pretty sure you do, you may not realize that there are so many more options than what may first come to mind.
Our showroom is full of inspiration, from photo galleries to gardens. Often it helps to see a feature in action – a pond, a waterfall, some tall grass or bamboo. You may fall in love with something unexpected, like a charming rustic picnic bench. Or be delighted by an idea you originally discarded – like a fish pond.
The best part of our showroom tour is that you can do it any time of the year. Our gardens are designed to charm and delight through every season – just as yours will be when we design it! You can see different blooms during spring and fall, and even see how the right plantings and design elements can liven up a winter landscape.
We take this time to ask you questions about what you want, what you like, and what dreams you have for your outdoor space. This is your chance to pull out all the stops. There’s nothing to prevent you from dreaming big! This initial sessions is an exploration of the imagination. We want you to truly envision the potential of your space, unhindered by eyesores, dry spots, poor soil or other conundrums that might snag your attention the minute you walk into your own yard.
The purpose of this phase is to understand you, your personality and your expectations and desires. It’s to plant a seed of excitement, to inspire you to see past what is, to what could be.
In the words of Maribel and Dan from Wall, New Jersey:
“We looked for years for a landscaping company that would help us realize our vision for our back yard. Everyone we talked to … just had the same old ideas you see in every development – then we found Groundskeeper. From the master plan to the execution of the landscaping work – our expectations have been exceeded at every step! We LOVE our back yard! They took our ideas and expanded beyond what we had hoped for … what a difference it has made on how we use our back yard!
Next, Time To Get Practical
After our showroom tour, we’ll schedule time to visit your home so that we can see exactly what we’ll be working with and begin to put together a plan. There’s a lot we’ll need to learn – what kind of drainage you have, how the sun moves over your yard, where the eyesores are, whether you have any privacy concerns, what kind of slope you may have, and tons more.
We’ll have a lot of questions for you! We’ll want to know about your family, kids and pets – anyone who will be using the space and what they may need. We’ll want to learn about your hobbies and how you like to (or WOULD like to) use your space. We’ll look at any existing structures, features or plantings that can be kept in place. We’ll find out everything there is to know about the quirks and concerns of your unique property.
This is the phase where we put OUR imaginations to work, thinking about how we can best help you achieve the most beautiful, functional space for your needs. We’ll probably make suggestions you hadn’t thought of.
Here’s just one example of a customer who was delighted by the unexpected. Jack and Charlene of New Brunswick, New Jersey, said:
“Jay and his crew transformed what was once a static patio area into a graceful entrance to a new pond area. The pergola that we initially were not so sure of was actually the picture frame around a masterpiece of color, texture and movement.
And one more, because we truly love bringing joy to the lives of our customers. Megan and Henry from Wall Township, New Jersey, warmed our hearts with this comment:
“From our morning coffee to our evening wine, you will undoubtedly find at least one of us enjoying the sights and sounds that it brings. If you recall, at first I was opposed to the idea; “Too much work” “I’m not a fish person” “we won’t ever find time to sit out there.” Was I wrong!!! It has become one of our favorite relaxation areas. We can not wait to see the pond area develop and evolve with the seasons.
Then, The Estimate
During our visit to your home we’ll also talk about budget. That may not seem like as much fun as imagining your gorgeous waterfall and koi pond, but it will help you reach your dreams. We can either help you develop a budget, whether you want to go “all in” or you’d rather phase in features over time. Or we can work within a budget you’ve set to help you achieve your dreams. We’ll also share financing options with you should you choose to pay over time.
In the end, you’ll have a documented vision of the potential of your space, along with a budget and proposal that meets the investment you wish to make.
Part of why our consultations are so in-depth and span several locations and conversations is that we want to ensure you know what to expect and will be pleased with the results. Designing a landscape that is an extension of your lifestyle and your home requires far more thought, insight, creativity and hardcore planning than simply clearing some space for a flowerbed and mowing the lawn.
Toni from Shrewsbury, New Jersey, summed it up perfectly when she said:
“ Your first meeting with Jay is most important. This is where Jay gets to know you and understand what you hope to achieve in your outside living area. He pays attention to every detail and will bring in some of the most talented specialists to your job.
We hope that now you can see why a consultation is so much more than a simple “estimate.” It can mean the difference between a space that you love, and one that’s just ok. Between investing money in your happiness, or wasting it on frustration and disappointment. Between four seasons of delight and joy, or another year of sitting and sighing as you take in a view that doesn’t inspire.
If you want an outdoor space that creates an outstanding experience for you and your family, that you can enjoy the way YOU want to, all year long and for many years into the future, then contact us for your consultation and let’s start the conversation.
Until then, we’ll leave you with this from Aliza and Paul from Ocean Grove, New Jersey. This is exactly how we want you to feel, too.
“ We are thrilled with the results! Our space was an enormous challenge, small with a multitude of requirements: the need for privacy, desire for beautiful planting, storage space for bicycles, etc. We started the process with Jay and his partner, landscape architect, Craig Termotto. Both Jay and Craig listened to our needs, made suggestions, discussed alternatives, and considered our town’s landmark rules.
A few weeks later, landscape architectural drawings with options were presented, we gave feedback, and revised plans were provided and approved. Throughout this process, Jay and Craig were flexible and creative with our needs and concerns, and turned issues into solutions.
Jay orchestrated the entire development of our backyard from excavation and demolition (of an existing, unattractive deck), through patio building, shed design and building, accessory selection, landscape lighting, and planting. In the end, our small space has been transformed from a drab experience to a somewhat storybook atmosphere. Exactly what we wanted!
One last note, communication with Jay throughout the process has been a pleasure. He’s easily accessible and always returns calls promptly. We wholeheartedly recommend Grounds Keeper!